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Protester of Obama's commencement visit is suing Notre Dame
South Bend Tribune via WSBT ^ | May 18, 2011 | JEFF PARROTT

Posted on 05/19/2011 7:48:40 AM PDT by jaydubya2

Criminal charges against anti-Obama protesters on the University of Notre Dame campus two years ago have been dropped, but the conflict has new life.

One of the demonstrators, who was arrested but never charged, this week filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the university and St. Joseph County police, alleging her constitutional free speech rights were violated because Barack Obama supporters were allowed to demonstrate without being arrested or forced off the campus.

The plaintiff, Karen Torres, is a 54-year-old grandmother who has no ties to South Bend or the university. She and her husband, Sonny, drove to town from Virginia to demonstrate on campus after hearing about the controversy that erupted over the university's decision to have the president speak at the May 2009 commencement and receive an honorary degree, said her Osceola-based attorney, Tom Dixon.

Protesters were enraged that the Catholic university would honor a president who supports abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research.

Torres feels particularly passionate about "pro-life" causes because her daughter-in-law, Susan Torres, in 2005 was dying of cancer but was kept on life support, despite being brain dead, so that she could give birth to her daughter, Dixon said.

Torres was not part of the large groups of anti-abortion rights protesters who were arrested on commencement day, Dixon said. She and her husband were driving away from campus after the day's events when they noticed pro-Obama demonstrators lined up along Douglas Road, she alleges in her suit. Believing Obama's motorcade would soon be coming through on the way to South Bend Regional Airport, Torres decided she wanted to show the president two signs she had been carrying all day. They read, "Shame on Notre Dame," and "Obama=Abortion."

Sonny let her out of the car in the lot of the Notre Dame Federal Credit Union branch on Douglas Road, and looked for a place to park, according to the suit.

Torres says a county and Notre Dame security police officer told her she was on private university property and must leave or face arrest. When she refused to leave, noting the presence of nearby pro-Obama supporters who were being allowed to demonstrate, she was arrested and booked into the county jail, where she spent seven hours.

"She was arrested while an organized group of pro-Obama demonstrators were congregating right next to her," Dixon said. "The university orchestrated her arrest as part of a policy to prevent pro-lifers from speaking and criticizing the university and President Obama."

When contacted for comment Wednesday, university spokesman Dennis Brown said no one from the university would be interviewed. But Brown released this written statement:

"A lawsuit against Notre Dame for an arrest that was not made by our police officers and did not occur on our campus defies logic," Brown said in the statement. "It clearly is frivolous and we will immediately seek its dismissal."

Dixon said that although Notre Dame security police did not make the arrest, they "orchestrated it." And he said he believes the credit union branch parking lot is on campus.

"County officers weren't just wandering around looking for people to arrest on private property," Dixon said. "They had to be given marching orders from Notre Dame."

Police arrested 88 anti-abortion rights demonstrators that day. County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak announced earlier this month that he was dropping misdemeanor trespassing charges against the individuals.

Dixon, who represented all of them, said they signed an "agreement not to sue" the university or county in exchange for the charges' dismissal.

Dvorak never ended up charging Torres, despite her arrest, so she was not a party to the agreement, Dixon said.

Pete Agostino, attorney for the county, said he is "very comfortable that county officers acted properly within the bounds of the law and they performed their jobs as police officers."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Indiana
KEYWORDS: karentorres; notredame; prolife

1 posted on 05/19/2011 7:48:42 AM PDT by jaydubya2
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To: jaydubya2

2 posted on 05/19/2011 7:58:11 AM PDT by Iron Munro (Every day we now throw away things people will kill for after TEOTWAWKI)
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To: jaydubya2

Notice the phrase “anti-abortion rights”. A little slanted, don’t you think?


3 posted on 05/19/2011 8:01:34 AM PDT by berkley
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To: jaydubya2

notice the phrase “anti-abortion rights”. A little slanted, don’t you think? I’d like to help pay for her legal bills for this. Bravo for her!!!


4 posted on 05/19/2011 8:03:55 AM PDT by berkley
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To: jaydubya2

She was not Arrested, she WAS the Victim of an Armed Felony Kidnapping, See OJ in Vegas


5 posted on 05/19/2011 8:12:54 AM PDT by eyeamok
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To: jaydubya2

If we still had a real Catholic Church, it would require Notre Dame to remove all religious symbols from it’s sorry campus.

It’s another hotbed of liberal tripe, and if one removes the science and engineering departments, will be utterly distinguishable from any local state school of non-scholarly indoctrination.


6 posted on 05/19/2011 8:13:24 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: jaydubya2

As a Catholic, I believe that the President of Notre Dame should be removed. The treatment of pro-life protesters of pro-abortion President 0bama’s speech in 2009 and the comments from the Notre Dame faculty should cause all Catholics to reflect and withdraw any support for Notre Dame. The school should be decertified as a Catholic University.


7 posted on 05/19/2011 8:26:02 AM PDT by kevinm13 (Tim Geithner is a tax cheat. Manmade "Global Warming" is a HOAX!)
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To: jaydubya2

This was a clear cut case of viewpoint discrimination. I think she’s win.


8 posted on 05/19/2011 8:38:52 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (GOP mantra: 'Repeal and replace.' Translation? 'We can do socialism better than the Democrats.')
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To: jaydubya2

Make that she WILL win.


9 posted on 05/19/2011 8:39:25 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (GOP mantra: 'Repeal and replace.' Translation? 'We can do socialism better than the Democrats.')
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To: topher; Mrs. Don-o

Ping!


10 posted on 05/19/2011 8:53:00 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: jaydubya2
I have a multi-millionaire buddy who used to contribute generously to Notre Dame over the years. When they invited this illegal alien, anti-Christian abortion supporter to the campus for that speech, that was the last time he donated a dime.

To think that this formerly respected university would invite this monster who believes in the ghastly and ruthless slaughter of over 3,300 babies each day in the most hideous manner just shows you how deep Notre Dame has sunk.

My buddy said that the annual donations to the university have dropped in the 10s of millions since that happened.

11 posted on 05/19/2011 9:09:24 AM PDT by laweeks
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To: laweeks

My buddy said that the annual donations to the university have dropped in the 10s of millions since that happened.


Maybe their stellar football program can make up the deficit...NOT!!!


12 posted on 05/19/2011 9:12:20 AM PDT by Hotlanta Mike (TeaNami)
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To: EternalVigilance
IF she was on private property and IF the owner of that property ordered her off of it, she was committing a trespass. On the other hand, if the county or university arrogated to themselves the authority to order her off someones private property, she will have her day in court.
13 posted on 05/19/2011 10:51:10 AM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

They said it was university property, and they allowed pro-Obama protestors to continue.

Viewpoint discrimination, cut and dried.


14 posted on 05/19/2011 11:11:49 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (GOP mantra: 'Repeal and replace.' Translation? 'We can do socialism better than the Democrats.')
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To: Hotlanta Mike

I hope they never win another game.


15 posted on 05/19/2011 11:12:35 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (GOP mantra: 'Repeal and replace.' Translation? 'We can do socialism better than the Democrats.')
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To: EternalVigilance

Fine, but Notre Dame is a private university, so viewpoint discrimination isn’t illegal.


16 posted on 05/19/2011 1:09:01 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

When you’re arresting people? Right next to people who are also protesting, just on the other side?

Besides, this is a lawsuit, not a criminal charge.


17 posted on 05/19/2011 1:18:23 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (GOP mantra: 'Repeal and replace.' Translation? 'We can do socialism better than the Democrats.')
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To: Da Coyote
Neither the Catholic chuirch (via the Bishop of South Bend) nor the U.S. government, has the authorty to require Notre Dame to remove all religious symbols.

The Bishop of Ft. Wayne/South Bend at that time. (since-retired) Bishop Joh D'Arcy, boycotted the ND graduation because of Obama's "unwillingness to hold human life as sacred." In his statement to the press, he daid, "... a bishop must teach the Catholic faith 'in season and out of season,' and he teaches not only by his words–but by his actions"."

Bishop D'Arcy attended the "alternative graduation" which was organized by the students who refused to attend the sacrilegious Obama honors.

I do wish the Catholic Church had a copyright or TM protection for its name and symbols, but unfortunately it does not, no more than the Quakers have a claim on Quaker Oats. There's even abortionists who put out a "holy card" wtith Our Lady of Guadalupe, "praying" for abortion rights. (You could google it, I won't reproduce it here.). It's profoundly disgusting, and an insult to the Mother of God.


18 posted on 05/19/2011 2:10:29 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.)
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To: EternalVigilance

A private landowner can choose who he allows, and who he doesn’t allow on his property.


19 posted on 05/19/2011 3:02:13 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

Well sure. But he can’t have people selectively arrested because of their political views.


20 posted on 05/19/2011 3:13:55 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (GOP mantra: 'Repeal and replace.' Translation? 'We can do socialism better than the Democrats.')
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To: EternalVigilance
Of course he can.

If you wanted to hold, say, a Tea Party event at your home, would you have to allow SEIU people to attend?

21 posted on 05/19/2011 3:16:51 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky
A private landowner can choose who he allows, and who he doesn’t allow on his property.

Hmmmmm. Are you quite sure about that?

22 posted on 05/19/2011 3:19:21 PM PDT by don-o (He will not share His glory; and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.)
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